Postprandial Reflections

We were in Chicago for Thanksgiving, a change of scheduling for us. Usually we head to our former home turf, birthplace of all our sons, for the Christmas – New Year’s break, but Karen wanted to mix it up this year. Convincing Nate was a bit difficult. He loves our more lengthy visit; it gives him time to eat at more restaurants, check out recent renovations of stores and houses, and, of course, get a bunch of “toilaroids” taken.

He is winding down this exhausting hobby of his. The deal was that we would quit making special trips for him to shoot his bathroom pictures once he turned 21. He balked, but seems at ease with the new plan. After downloading his latest 18 images, I did notice that he has over 5,000 rest rooms in his Toilaroid folder. It didn’t feel good to see that number.

Our Thanksgiving Day was spent at the home of two of our best friends. One of them is Gale Gand, top pastry chef and Godmother to our youngest, Joey. Gale has done everything, including cookbooks and a Food Network show called Sweet Dreams (Karen appeared on two episodes). Also sharing the day were The Hearty Boys, Dan and Steve, also of cookbook and Food Network fame. You can imagine that the food was out of this world.

Dan and Steve have a gorgeous little boy named, ironically, Nate, so the whole day was spent distinguishing between “Big Nate” and “Little Nate.” Big Nate, my Nate, for the most part minded his own business. As I mentioned in my last post, Nate, my Nate, is able and willing to play with others, and has a great new tolerance for little kids. This wasn’t always the case.

Nate’s first brother, Robbie, was born when Nate was at his most uncommunicative. Having a new kid in the house drove Nate crazy. He wanted nothing to do with this intruder, like most first borns, but Nate couldn’t express his feelings other than through violence. The worst thing he did, the most horrifying, was bite Robbie hard, leaving deep tooth marks in Robbie’s fair skin. And he did it often. I’ll never forget the screams of agonizing pain that would come from Rob, and how fast we’d run to comfort him and yell at Nate, who was unfazed and carried on as if nothing had happened. The situation was so alarming that we really feared for Robbie’s well-being, wondering, at least I did, whether Nate would kill him. Seriously, it crossed my mind more than once and presented awful scenarios of whether Nate could, and should, live with us.  Over time, as Nate matured and Rob grew, the danger faded, but it’s a lingering nightmarish memory.

Back to Thursday. Little Nate would approach Big Nate and grab at Big Nate’s papers, which he’d arranged all around him.

“Hey, leave my stuff alone!” yelled our Nate.

Little Nate is only 6 years old, I think, so his behavior was age appropriate. What amazed me was that Big Nate held himself together well. I didn’t get involved, wondering whether Big Nate would be able to cope with the crisis. He did. No one got hurt, thankfully (it was Thanksgiving) and Nate Katz made one more advance in his social development.

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About Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.
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